Facts about PEG (Polyethylene Glycol)

Polyethylene glycol, or PEG, is an interesting molecule with uses beyond woodworking. Here's some info on the varieties on the market. July 23, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
Has anyone ever bought PEG in larger quantities, say 200-300 pounds? I'm carving larger wood sculptures and trying to stabilize (for now) poplar wood in a large trough.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Years ago we bought a drum directly from Dow Chemicals.



From Contributor T:
Gene, how much did the PEG cost at Dow Chemicals?


From the original questioner:
As this appears to have been a while ago, I'm sure that would have changed. My main issue now is contacted them and seeing if this can still be done today. They never came up on a search and those that did, have not as of yet, agree to sell to me. FYI: Rockler sells it at about $60 for 10 lbs which comes out to $1,800. Iím hoping to do better than that.


From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I see that a Spectrum chemical supplier has 20 liters of PEG 300 for $600 plus. I am not sure of the mixing ratio of powder to water, but at least 1:1 and maybe less PEG. You can get it at Fisher Chemical too. Sometimes they make pharmacy grade and it is more expensive. You do not need this high grade.


From the original questioner:
Thanks, Gene. You are the first to fill me in on PEG 300 which already sounds like an improvement. Hopefully Iíll be able to bring my costs down.


From contributor D:
There was a log home manufacturer in Northern Georgia that pressure treated all the logs in his homes with PEG instead of drying. He is not in business now but I doubt he paid that much. We use it as an anti-freeze sometimes and you might search for it under brines or anti-freeze. Some is food grade.


From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Ethylene glycol is an interesting molecule. Alone, it is antifreeze that most cars have in their radiator system. It is poisonous. PEG 200 - PEG 8000 (the number refers to the number of ethylene glycol molecules tied together to make one molecule) are made by Dow and are known as Carbowax (TM). PEG 3350 is used to help prepare for the dreaded colonoscopy. PEG 300 and PEG 1000 have been used to stabilize wood. PEG 400 is used in pharmaceuticals.

Other uses of PEG include:

Adhesives
Ceramic Glaze
Chemical Intermediates
Food Packaging
Lubricant
Mold Release Agent
Wood Treatment